nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

36 years since Three Mile Island accident- 36 unpalatable nuclear industry facts

NUCLEAR-LIES136 Years of TMI’s Lethal Lies….& Counting http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/27/three-mile-island-36-anniversary/  | March 27, 2015/EcoWatch

The lies that killed people at Three Mile Island 36 years ago this weekend are still being told at Chernobyl, Fukushima, Diablo Canyon, Davis-Besse … and at TMI itself.

As the first major reactor accident that was made known to the public is sadly commemorated, and as the global nuclear industry collapses, let’s count just 36 tip-of-the iceberg ways the nuclear industry’s radioactive legacy continues to fester:

1. When about half of TMI’s fuel melted on March 28, 1979, the owners, industry and regulators all denied it, and continued to deny it until robotic cameras showed otherwise.

2. Early signs that such an accident could happen had already surfaced at the Davis-Besse reactor in Ohio, which was also manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox. TMI’s owners later sued Davis-Besse’s owners for not warning them about what had happened.

3. When TMI’s radiation poured into the atmosphere the industry had (and still has) no idea how much escaped, but denied it was of any significance even though stack monitors failed and dosimeters in the field indicated high releases (plant owners claimed they were “defective”). Only due to the work of the great Dr. Ernest Sternglass, recently departed, was public attention turned to the potential harm this radiation could do.

4. When animals nearby suffered mass mutations and death, the industry denied it. When the plague was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Baltimore News-American, the industry denied the damagecould be related to radiation.

5. Industry “experts” assured the public radiation doses to downwinders were similar to a single x-ray, but ignored well-established findings from Dr. Alice Stewart and others that a single x-ray to a pregnant woman could double the chances of childhood leukemia among her offspring.

6. Industry “experts” ignored the reality that radioactive fallout can come down in clumps rather than spread evenly, and scoffed at findings from neighborhood surveys done by Jane Lee, Mary Osbourne and others showing major outbreaks of cancer in certain downwind neighborhoods.

7. When humans nearby were born with Down’s Syndrome and other mutations, and then adults began dying, the industry denied it, then denied any connection to TMI, but then did pay at least $15 million in out-of-court settlements to affected families on condition they not speak about it in public.

8. When Chernobyl exploded in 1986, Soviet officials said nothing as massive clouds of radiation poured across Europe and into the jet stream that would carry it to the U.S. within 10 days.

9. The U.S. government did nothing of sufficient scale to monitor Chernobyl’s radiation as it came here, and did nothing to warn the public to avoid milk and other foods that might concentrate that radiation, and has repeated that behavior in the wake of Fukushima.

10. A massive bird die-off at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore came with the arrival of the Chernobyl cloud and was documented by resident ornithologist Dr. Dave DeSante, whose findings were ignored by the government; soon thereafter, DeSante lost his job.

11. Chernobyl’s radiation was tracked all across Europe where it continues to irradiate plants, animals and humans. The most credible study of Chernobyl’s human death toll put it at 985,000 in 2010.

12. Chernobyl still seethes with radiation, but the massive, hugely expensive movable sarcophagus meant to cover it is not yet in place.

13. When fire runs through the wooded areas around Chernobyl, massive quantities of radiation are re-released into the atmosphere.

14. Fifteen Soviet-era reactors remain operable in Ukraine, much of which is now a de facto war zone, raising serious doubts about what will happen to them and the rest of the downwind human race.

15. The Japanese government was repeatedly and passionately warned by thousands of citizens for more than 40 years that putting reactors in a tsunami zone surrounded by earthquake faults was not a good idea. They were dismissed as “alarmists” and repeatedly assured that the reactors at Fukushima and elsewhere around Japan could come to no harm.

16. Despite repeated public protests, when Fukushima Dai’ichi was built an 85-foot-high bluff was taken down so units 1 through 4 could operate more cheaply at sea level; as widely predicted, they were massively flooded on March 11, 2011.

17. Critical backup batteries meant to keep the reactor cores cool in case of melt-downs were placed in basements which were thoroughly flooded when the tsunami hit Fukushima. Workers later frantically took batteries from nearby parked cars to try to power up the stricken cooling systems and other critical components.

18. The exact whereabouts of the melted cores from Fukushima Units 1, 2 and 3 remain unknown.

19. After a half-century of industry assurances that American reactors could not explode, four General Electric reactors blew up at Fukushima.

20. By estimate of Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, some 30 times as much Cesium 137 has been released at Fukushima as was released during the bombing of Hiroshima.

21. Some 300 tons of radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every day.

22. Thousands of highly radioactive spent fuel rods remain scattered around the Fukushima site; thousands are also still suspended in damaged spent fuel pools 100 feet in the air atop weakened buildings above shattered, melted reactors.

23. A petition signed by more than 150,000 people demanding that Fukushima be taken over by the world community was submitted to the United Nations on November 7, 2013, but has yet to receive a response of any kind.

24. Fukushima is still owned and operated by Tokyo Electric Power, which built it despite massive public opposition and continues to mismanage it while turning the “clean up” into a profit center, with a labor force thoroughly infiltrated by organized crime.

25. Like Fukushima, California’s Diablo Canyon reactors were built despite huge public protests, and sit in a tsunami zone surrounded by earthquake faults whose potential seismic power exceeds Diablo’s structural capacities, according numerous experts, including NRC official Dr. Michael Peck, who worked at Diablo for the commission.

26. A continual stream of revelations indicate illegal collusion on safety and other issues at Diablo between its owners, Pacific Gas & Electric, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission.

27. Diablo’s owners almost certainly violated regulatory requirements and the law in using components within the reactors that were not tested to meet seismic standards.

28. Earthquakes have already damaged at least two U.S. reactors, at Ohio’s Perry site and at North Anna, Virginia (that quake also damaged the Washington Monument in our nation’s capital).

29. Public money designated for use by PG&E to upgrade piping systems was diverted to executive bonuses, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2010 unrepaired gas lines, which were known to have been deteriorating for a decade, blew up in San Bruno, killing eight people and doing millions of dollars in damage. Such a disaster at Diablo Canyon could kill countless thousands and do untold damage to the national economy and global ecology.

30. Diablo Canyon’s once-through cooling system violates state and federal water quality regulations by dumping huge quantities of hot, radioactive liquid into the Pacific, killing billions of marine creatures while unbalancing the ocean ecology and contributing to climate chaos.

31. Like most other old U.S. reactors, Ohio’s Davis-Besse is literally crumbling, with the concrete in its safety shield being pulverized by continual freezing, yielding ever-growing holes in the structure.

32. Like most other old U.S. reactors, Diablo Canyon, Davis-Besse, five reactors in Illinois and many more cannot compete in electricity markets against wind power, solar panels, other renewable sources or increased efficiency, and would shut down were it not for massive public subsidies.

33. Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission is being asked by FirstEnergy, Davis-Besse’s owner, for subsidies amounting to more than $3 billion to keep open that decrepit reactor, which opened in 1978, and the Sammis coal burner, which is even older.

34. Wisconsin’s Kewaunee reactor has shut for purely economic reasons despite being fully amortized and having no apparent outstanding maintenance or engineering crises.

35. California’s San Onofre reactors were shut in part due to violations of licensing requirements that are mirrored at both Diablo Canyon and Davis-Besse, where shut-downs could be required by law. Let’s hope …

36. As we commemorate this tragic anniversary, we must note that this list of reactor nightmares could go very very far past 36. But let’s hope it doesn’t take that many more years to realize the folly of this failed technology.

In honor of the many many victims of Three Mile Island, and of the great Dr. Sternglass and so many dedicated experts and activists, we must turn this sad litany into the action needed to shut down ALL the world’s reactors so we don’t have to experience this nightmare yet again.

The lives we save will be our own … and those of our children … and theirs …

Harvey Wasserman reported directly on TMI’s death toll from central Pennsylvania. He co-wrote KILLING OUR OWN:  THE DISASTER OF AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH ATOMIC RADIATION.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

St George city decides against getting electricity from NuScale’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

text-SMRsCity opts to withdraw from nuclear power project, keep options open, St George News by  March 27, 2015 ST. GEORGE – City officials discussed the city’s future power generations needs during a City Council meeting Thursday. The city wants to keep its options open as far as those needs are concerned, and for the time being, is backing away from an experimental nuclear power option.

City staff recommended that the City Council hold off on committing to a project by NuScale Power. Based out of Oregon, NuScale proposes to build compact nuclear reactors that would be housed in a power plant built near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The compact reactors are designed to produce 40-50 megawatts of power.

A permit application for the proposed project is slated to be sent into the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for review, and could take until 2018 or longer to be approved. If approved, the power plant could be built and operational by 2024…….

Though St. George is one of UAMPS biggest utilities, city staff have recommended against committing to any binding agreements, saying they want the city to maintain flexibility over where it gets its power. The cost of being involved could run into the millions of dollars, said Laurie Mangum, the city’s energy services director……

Other sources of potential energy the city could tap into in the future include solar power or hydroelectric power generated along the Lake Powell Pipeline. Also, through its existing contracts and city-owned power-generation facilities, the city has 70 percent of its base load power needs covered up to around 2024-25, Esplin said.

“We’re in pretty good shape for the next eight-nine years,” Esplin said…….https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2015/03/27/mgk-city-opts-withdraw-nuclear-power-project-keep-options-open/#.VRXGyvyUcnk

March 28, 2015 Posted by | politics, technology, USA | Leave a comment

New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) accident caused by wrong type of kitty litter

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USANuclear leak caused by ‘wrong type of kitty litter,’ confirms government report   Some — but not all — kitty litter can be used to stabilize nuclear waste The Verge, By James Vincent  March 27, 2015  A yearlong investigation by the US Department of Energy has confirmed that a major accident at a nuclear waste storage facility was caused by the wrong type of kitty litter. Last year, a single 55-gallon drum of waste material was found to have burst its seams at the New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), dispersing radioactive material throughout the underground facility. The drum had been packed with organic rather than inorganic kitty litter, which led to “a series of ever-increasing heat releasing reactions” that breached the drum.

Although this scenario sounds far-fetched, kitty litter has been used to stabilize certain types of nuclear waste for decades. However, only inorganic litter contains the mineral silicates needed for the job. The substance itself is not used to “dry out” the waste, but actually stabilizes it before it dries out. As WIPP geologist Jim Conca explained last year: “‘Green’ cat litter [is] made with materials like wheat or corn. These organic litters do not have the silicate properties needed to chemically stabilize nitrate the correct way.”

A yearlong investigation by the US Department of Energy has confirmed that a major accident at a nuclear waste storage facility was caused by the wrong type of kitty litter. Last year, a single 55-gallon drum of waste material was found to have burst its seams at the New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), dispersing radioactive material throughout the underground facility. The drum had been packed with organic rather than inorganic kitty litter, which led to “a series of ever-increasing heat releasing reactions” that breached the drum.

Although this scenario sounds far-fetched, kitty litter has been used to stabilize certain types of nuclear waste for decades. However, only inorganic litter contains the mineral silicates needed for the job. The substance itself is not used to “dry out” the waste, but actually stabilizes it before it dries out. As WIPP geologist Jim Conca explained last year: “‘Green’ cat litter [is] made with materials like wheat or corn. These organic litters do not have the silicate properties needed to chemically stabilize nitrate the correct way.”

THE INCORRECT USE OF “SWHEAT SCOOP” KITTY LITTER HAS LED TO $243 MILLION IN DAMAGESAccording to the report, the “Swheat Scoop” brand of organic kitty litter was used to package drum 68660. As a result of the ensuing breach, 21 workers were contaminated with low-level doses of radiation and WIPP itself was completely shut down. The White House has requested $243 million in its 2016 budget to bring the plant back into operation, …….http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/27/8299325/kitty-litter-nuclear-waste-accident-wipp

March 28, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Tea Party leader joins environmentalists to form GREEN TEA COALITION

Dooley, Debbie T PartyDuring the first 15 years of nuclear — nuclear subsidies from the federal government accounted for one percent of the federal budget. Despite all the talks about the subsidies solar has received, solar during its first 15 years has only accounted for one tenth of one percent of federal subsidy. 

to these elected officials who want the solar tax credit to expire, I say let’s expire all of the direct and indirect subsidies and tax credits that coal, nuclear, and oil are receiving as well. If they want to continue with the fossil fuel tax credits and the nuclear tax credits, then they should continue with the solar and wind tax credits. For every Solyndra they can point to, you can point to a nuclear reactor that’s over budget. 

Conservatives need to do their research. Do your research and you’re going to come to the same conclusion that I have, that we’ve been manipulated by groups with interests in fossil fuel into believing that green energy is bad

Why This Tea Party Leader Is  Seeing Green on Solar Energy As a founder of the Tea Party movement, Debbie Dooley may be an unlikely advocate for renewable energy. But in an e360 interview, she explains why she is breaking ranks with fellow conservatives and promoting a Florida ballot initiative that would allow homeowners to sell power produced by rooftop solar. 26 MAR 2015: INTERVIEW Environment 360 by diane toomey

Debbie Dooley’s conservative credentials are impeccable. She was one of the founding members of the Tea Party movement and continues to sit on the board of the Tea Party Patriots. She also serves as chairperson of the Atlanta Tea Party.

But on the issue of solar power, Dooley breaks the mold. To the consternation of some of her fellow conservatives, she has teamed up with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, first in  Georgia and now in Florida, to form the Green Tea Coalition. It’s an unlikely mix of conservative, environmental and other groups whose focus includes campaigning against the maintenance fees that utility companies charge solar customers. In Florida, the group is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would allow individuals and businesses to sell power directly to consumers.

In this interview with Yale e360, Dooley explains her motivations behind the solar energy campaign and why she’s willing to go up against conservative organizations when it comes to this issue. …

Debbie Dooley: My foray into becoming a strong advocate for decentralized energy began with a fight with a government-created monopoly in Georgia, Georgia Power. I believed that they had far too much power. Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Manti-La Sal National Forest halt uranium expansion of the La Sal Uranium Mines Complex

Expansion of Four Utah Uranium Mines Halted, Center for Biological Diversity, http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2015/uranium-mines-03-26-2015.html 28 Mar 15 

MOAB, Utah— In response to formal objections by Uranium Watch and other conservation groups, the Manti-La Sal National Forest on Tuesday halted plans to allow the uranium industry to expand the La Sal Mines Complex — a complex of four old uranium mines located in La Sal, Utah.  Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Pattern of denial by nuclear industry set off after the Three Mile Island accident

News corporate disinformationThree Mile Island: Writing the Nuclear Meltdown Playbook, Fairewinds By Arnie Gundersen,March 25th, 2015

People today who are familiar with social media think that TMI means “Too Much Information”. But to me, and anyone listening to the news in 1979, TMI will always represent the disaster at Three Mile Island, when the public received too little information, not too much.

At the time of the nuclear disaster at TMI, there were plans to build more than 200 nuclear plants in the US, with some projections topping 1,000. Today, less than 100 nuclear plants are operating in the US. During the 1970’s, the total amount invested in those early plants easily exceeded one trillion dollars. If the public became fearful of nuclear power, then the nuclear industry, investors, and banks that had loaned money would face huge losses, so the nuclear industry and nuclear regulators tried desperately to minimize the significance of what was happening at the crippled reactor.

The pattern of denial created by the nuclear industry during the TMI meltdown had at least five steps in its playbook:

  1. Make it appear that “authorities” have the situation under control.
  2. Delay any evacuation orders for as long as possible.
  3. Claim radiation releases are much lower than they actually are.
  4. Claim radiation exposures are acceptable and that no one will die.
  5. And lastly, minimize conflicting information given to the press through paid off experts.

 

The formula for damage control at TMI was designed by the nuclear industry composed a one size fits all “playbook” the industry has followed for all nuclear catastrophes since TMI. Comments made during the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi by utility owner Tokyo Electric could easily mimic those made at Chernobyl and TMI! When Maggie and I saw these old tricks being played again at Fukushima Daiichi, we dedicated ourselves to ensuring that the public has an accessible resource on which to rely that provides accurate information, and thus the Fairewinds videos were born.

In this video posted to commemorate the TMI disaster, I discuss the pattern of denial regarding nuclear power plant failures and meltdowns, not just for TMI but also for Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi as well. We at Fairewinds Energy Education hope you will watch it and think about sharing the true facts with others. http://www.fairewinds.org/three-mile-island/#sthash.InUCa9Be.dpuf

March 28, 2015 Posted by | media, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Dubious USA Bills – Small Nuclear Reactors, “education on nuclear”, nuclear as “renewable”

Flag-USANuclear power measures face questions   CrossCut WEDNESDAY 25, MARCH 2015  by  The big topic at the House Technology & Economic Development Committee hearing was whether Washington should find a place to build small modular reactors, which would be produced for utility customers. Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, is sponsoring this proposal and the two other nuclear-related bills that the committee examined. The Senate passed the SMRs-miragesmall modular reactor bill 27-21, mostly along party lines.Tri-Cities leaders envision a Boeing-style assembly plant to build small modular reactors. This is a long-range plan and is predicted to take several years to develop……

The concept is still on the drawing board. No one has built a commercial small modular reactor yet……

At the hearing, critics cited the lack of any track record on cost or safety for small modular reactors, plus concerns over the nation’s lack of a permanent place to store used nuclear fuel.

“Small nuclear reactors are still in the prototype stage. … The prototype has never been tested in power production yet,” said Thomas Buchanan of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“I don’t think that the Department of Commerce should work on this until it has a design that passes the NRC,” said Chuck Johnson of the same organization.

Johnson argued that a single small-modular reactor would not generate enough electricity to efficiently recover its construction and operating costs…..

Deborah Wolpoff of Olympia pointed to the cancelation of the nation’s proposed nuclear fuel repository inside Yucca Mountain, with no replacement lined up. “I think it is irresponsible to promote this technology that produces this waste that we have no solution for,” Wolpoff said.

Committee member Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Seattle, wondered why the Legislature should support a new nuclear industry while Hanford’s Cold War nuclear wastes are decades from being cleaned up….

nuclear-teacherAnother Brown bill, which the Senate passed 44-5, would create an education program aimed at providing nuclear science lessons to students in the eighth through 12th grades. Qualified American Nuclear Society members would be brought in for classroom sessions. Also, science teachers would receive instruction on nuclear science in order to teach the subject in the classrooms…….

Mary Hanson of Physicians Social Responsibility argued that the bill would give the nuclear industry influence over students, while other energy industries would not have the same access. She said American Nuclear Society members might be less versed in nuclear power’s health issues than its technical ones.

 

The third Brown bill, which the Senate passed 29-20, would add nuclear power to the list of alternative power sources that certain utilities can use to meet a state requirement to offer their customers voluntary participation in alternative energy purchases. The current list of green sources includes wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy….

Physicians for Social Responsibility opposed it, contending nuclear energy is not a renewable power source….

renewable-lie

http://crosscut.com/2015/03/nuclear-power-measures-face-questions/

March 27, 2015 Posted by | politics, Reference, technology, USA | Leave a comment

USA to establish a new “independent” Nuclear Waste Administration

text-wise-owlSenators Propose New Nuclear WastAgency http://www.law360.com/publicpolicy/articles/635220/senators-propose-new-nuclear-waste-agency By Juan Carlos Rodriguez Law360, New York (March 24, 2015,  — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would create a new agency to handle the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and establish a new working capital fund in the U.S. Treasury for nuclear waste projects.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2015 would safeguard and permanently dispose of the nation’s stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel, which are currently accumulating at separate sites across the country.

Waste-Confidence-RuleThe act would establish the Nuclear Waste Administration, an independent agency to manage the country’s nuclear waste program in place of the U.S. Department of Energy. The agency would be headed by an administrator appointed by the president and subject to Senate confirmation, according to the senators.

Under the bill, the NWA would build a pilot storage facility to hold spent fuel from decommissioned nuclear power plants and emergency shipments from operating plants, and be responsible for building consolidated storage facilities for non-priority spent fuel for utilities or defense wastes for the DOE on a temporary basis.

The act would also require the NWA to establish siting processes for storage facilities and repositories and link those storage facilities and repositories. And the administrator would be authorized to begin siting a pilot storage facility for priority waste immediately, while not setting waste volume restrictions on storage.

In addition to the NWA, the act would create the Nuclear Waste Fund, a new working capital fund in the U.S. Treasury, into which the fees collected from the utilities would be deposited. The funds would be available to the administration without further appropriation. The senators said fees already collected remain in the Nuclear Waste Fund, where they will continue to be subject to appropriation…….
Also on Tuesday, Obama authorized the DOE to begin the process of developing a repository to be used for disposal of some DOE-managed high-level radioactive waste. In 1985, a decision was made to commingle defense waste from weapons production and civilian nuclear waste from energy production and dispose of them in the same repository, the DOE said in a statement.
And Cantwell noted the bill was guided by principles laid out by The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, which was formed by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz at the request of President Barack Obama to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and recommend a new strategy.

“I appreciate my colleagues’ recognition that dealing with our nation’s defense waste — more than half of which exists at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington — is an important priority,” Cantwell, the Senate Energy Committee’s ranking member, said in a statement.

But the DOE said the U.S. is no longer generating defense high-level waste associated with weapons production, and the inventory and composition of defense high-level waste is finite, which means the department can use separate disposal pathways for some waste streams.

“In addition, some defense waste is less radioactive, cooler and easier to handle than commercial waste, which means a simpler design and potentially fewer licensing and transportation challenges for a defense repository. Separate disposal of defense high-level waste could allow greater flexibility in site selection — and that could help keep costs down,” the department said. http://www.law360.com/publicpolicy/articles/635220/senators-propose-new-nuclear-waste-agency

March 27, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA’s military and commercial nuclear wastes to be dealt with separately

Senators, Energy Department Float Nuclear Waste Proposals US News 25 Mar 15 A bipartisan group and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz are exploring alternatives to a permanent storage facility in Nevada.

Four Senators from both sides of the aisle promoted legislation Tuesday calling for the construction of interim disposal sites for nuclear waste, a potential alternative to decades of deadlock over a permanent facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

text-wise-owl“Nuclear energy is a vital part of America’s energy portfolio, and for far too long, the American taxpayer has been on the hook for the federal government’s failure to implement an effective plan to handle the backend of the nuclear fuel cycle,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. “This legislation is an important step toward advancing the use of nuclear power in America.”

The bill does not mention Yucca Mountain, but it mirrors recommendations published in January 2012 by the Energy Department’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, a panel convened by President Barack Obama in 2010 to develop a new strategy for disposing of spent nuclear fuel. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

President Obama quietly “greenwashes” Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

SMR developers have already looked to the federal government as one of their most important potential customers.text-SMRs

SMRs face major challenges before they can ever be deployed, including an apparent lack of private sector interest and the potential for unforeseen problems and cost overruns when building a factory to mass produce the technology

The failure to find investors caused two NuScale competitors, Generation mPower and Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC, to cut back on their SMR programs.

nuke-greenwashObama executive order tags small modular reactors as clean energy https://www.snl.com/Interactivex/article.aspx?CdId=A-31794585-10540 By Matthew Bandyk 26 Mar 15 A new executive order issued by President Barack Obama to cut greenhouse gas emissions from federal government agencies could benefit what has become a pet project of the administration: small modular reactors. The in-development technology is the only form of nuclear energy to qualify as clean energy under the order.

The order, announced March 19, requires federal agencies to ensure that increasing amounts of the electric and thermal energy they consume come from low-carbon dioxide-emitting “alternative energy” sources. At least 10% of their energy must come from these sources starting in 2016, all the way up to 25% by 2025.

The definition of alternative energy in the order does not include “nuclear power” in general but specifically “small modular nuclear reactor technologies,” a term used to refer to a number of proposed designs for portable reactors typically under 300 MW, which are much smaller and potentially cheaper and easier to build than conventional nuclear reactors.

With the order, the Obama administration is pushing policies in support of small modular reactors, or SMRs, which are similar to proposals being contemplated at the state level. The Washington state senate, for example, recently passed a bill that would count SMRs among wind and solar as “qualified alternative energy resources” in the state’s voluntary alternative energy purchase program for utilities. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, technology, USA | Leave a comment

USA plans for storage of the 5% of nuclear wastes that originate from defense programs

wastes-1Flag-USAU.S. to pursue storage for nuclear waste from defense programs, Japan Times, BLOOMBERG

 MAR 25, 2015 WASHINGTON – The Energy Department plans to build a storage site for high-level nuclear waste from U.S. weapons systems. Energy officials, who didn’t give a timeline for developing the repository, said they will start by identifying potential locations and gain local support for the project. President Barack Obama signed a memorandum Tuesday backing the department’s plans.

An administration official who requested anonymity to discuss the plan said building the storage site probably will face fewer obstacles than establishing a repository for waste from nuclear power plants.

That’s in part because U.S. defense programs produce about 5 percent of all nuclear waste, the official said. Waste from generating electricity accounts for 85 percent of the total…http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/25/world/u-s-pursue-storage-nuclear-waste-defense-programs/#.VRR7wfyUcnk

March 27, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Diablo Canyon—An American nuclear plant with troubling similarities to Fukushima

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight As California’s Last Active Nuke Plant Puts Millions at Risk, Eco Watch Greg Schwartz | March 24, 2015 Humanity’s clock is ticking but few in power seem to recognize how late it’s getting. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been keeping time though with their “Doomsday Clock,” established in 1947 to convey threats to humanity and the planet in the new atomic age launched by the Manhattan Project two years before. Widely recognized as an indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, global climate change and other emerging technologies, the Doomsday Clock was moved forward two minutes in January to 11:57 p.m. It’s the closest the clock has been to midnight since the height of the Cold War in 1984……..

Global climate change and the nuclear weapons industry were listed as the primary threats, but the Bulletin’s analysis also cited “the leadership failure on nuclear power.” The Bulletin noted that “the international community has not developed coordinated plans to meet the challenges that nuclear power faces in terms of cost, safety, radioactive waste management, and proliferation risk.” The triple meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant in 2011 brought the issue to global attention after an unpredictable earthquake stronger than the plant was built to withstand overwhelmed the reactors in conjunction with a massive tsunami. This unprecedented disaster even led the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to establish a Fukushima Lessons Learned Division. But the situation at California’s last remaining active nuclear plant has generated widespread concern about whether the NRC has learned anything at all from Fukushima.

Diablo Canyon—An American nuclear plant with troubling similarities to Fukushima Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

US Congress move to limit nuclear weapons spending is opposed by military officials

missile-moneyDoD leaders push back against move to limit nuclear spending, Air Force Times, 24 Mar 15  Military officials are pushing back against a move on Capitol Hill to reduce funding for the nuclear mission, including provisions to delay the Air Force’s next-generation bomber and cancel the nuclear capability of the F-35.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., on Monday introduced the Sane Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act, which aims to cut $100 billion from the nation’s nuclear weapons budget. The measure would cut the B-61 gravity bomb development and cancel the development of an air-launched cruise missile, delay the long-range strike bomber development, cancel the F-35’s ability to carry a nuclear weapon and defer development of new intercontinental ballistic missiles for the Air Force. The bill would also cut the number of nuclear submarines and cancel the construction of nuclear weapons processing facilities.

“We are robbing America’s future to pay for unneeded weapons of the past,” Markey said in a statement. “As we debate the budget and Republicans rally around devastating cuts to Medicare, Head Start and investments in research and science, it makes no sense to fund a bloated nuclear arsenal that does nothing to keep our nation safe in the 21st century.”

Congress instead should work to find savings in existing programs and the Pentagon needs to aim for a one-third reduction in its deployed weapons, Blumenauer said…….

A major part of this [air force] plan is the long-range strike bomber, which is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s. The service expects to award a contract for engineering, manufacturing and development within the next several months, James said. The bomber is expected to replace the B-52, which will fly until 2040 when it hits about 80 years of service, and the B-2 Spirit. The goal is a fleet of 80 to 100 new bombers. http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2015/03/24/dod-leaders-oppose-nuclear-funding-restrictions/70387158/

March 25, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA wants new nuclear waste storage (doesn’t occur to them to stop making this trash)

text-wise-owlUnder current law, the DOE is responsible for nuclear waste generated by electric utilities. The department has already paid out US$4 billion for failing to meet its obligation to remove waste that is now building up at nuclear power plants. It could be forced to shell out up to $23 billion more over the next 50 years if the issue isn’t resolved, Moniz said

US government seeks new sites for nuclear-waste storage Department of Energy pursues interim plan for commercial fuel and permanent location for defence waste. Nature Jeff Tollefson 24 March 2015 The US Energy Department will seek interim storage facilities for commercial nuclear waste and a permanent geologic repository for radioactive material from the country’s nuclear weapons programme, energy secretary Ernest Moniz said on 24 March. Continue reading

March 25, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Financially in trouble AREVA is nevertheless advising on marketing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

areva-medusa1NuScale hires an energy giant to help get its nuclear plant certified Feb 17, 2015,  

Staff Reporter-Portland Business Journal Portland-based NuScale Power has entered an agreement with AREVA to support testing and design of its nuclear power system as it prepares to submit a Design Certification Application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency….The agreement gives NuScale access to AREVA’s fuel technology as well as its nuclear testing capabilities…..
NuScale Power is developing a small, modular nuclear power system that is built under factory conditions and deployed to a client’s site….
It expects to submit the document by late 2016 and to secure approval in time for a 2020 commercial launch…..

SMRs-mirage
Fluor Corp. (NYSE: FLR) is its majority investor.http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/sbo/2015/02/nuscale-hires-an-energy-giant-to-help-get-its.htm

March 25, 2015 Posted by | France, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 958 other followers